Rolls-Royce joins HPC agreement

Rolls-Royce becomes first company to join supercomputing initiative that breaks down barriers between industry and academia

Educational charity Jisc has announced that power systems provider Rolls-Royce will become the first company to join its high performance computing (HPC) agreement.

Through the brokerage scheme, Rolls-Royce will be awarded easy access to supercomputing equipment worth up to £60 million, at the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council’s (EPSRC) HPC Midlands. 

There are enormous capital costs in setting up HPC centres and this agreement will allow Rolls-Royce to benefit from additional world-class HPC facilities and expertise, thereby supporting the company to be more innovative. 

In addition, Rolls-Royce will also be taking advantage of a connection to the Janet network, the high-speed network for UK education and research. Through Jisc’s Janet Reach scheme for industrial connectivity – which leverages £30m of public investment in ultra-fast internet and is supported by BIS – a network circuit operating at 10 Gigabits per second will be installed by Jisc, so that it is able to fully-exploit the HPC centre.

Rolls-Royce’s HPC lead, Dr Yoon Ho said: “For many years now we have worked with universities and colleges across the UK and internationally, and we partner with a number of institutions on research and development through our University Technology Centres. This agreement was a natural next step to explore sharing facilities more broadly. We have been impressed by the professional approach that Jisc and HPC Midlands have taken to this project, in particular around our tough information security and export control requirements, and we see a very bright future for our collaboration.”

Jeremy Sharp, Jisc’s director of strategic technologies, continued: “It is no longer the case that academia and industry operate in separate, parallel worlds. In an environment where resources are increasingly constrained, both sectors need to understand how they can work more closely together and learn from one another. I am very pleased that we have been able to come up with a two such solutions that break down some of these barriers. Rolls-Royce signing up as the first company demonstrates just how valuable these initiatives are to supporting UK business and the economy to thrive.”

The HPC brokerage agreement has been developed by Jisc in conjunction with HPC Midlands and other leading UK supercomputer centres. It is part of Jisc’s asset sharing initiative, helping the sector to implement Sir Ian Diamond’s report ‘Efficiency, effectiveness and value for money’, which recommends increased collaboration and shared services to improve efficiency and productivity. 

HPC Midlands director, professor Steven Kenny added: ‘It has been a pleasure to work with Jisc to develop what we hope will become a standardised approach for providing industry access to supercomputing facilities. In years to come we hope that it becomes accepted practice for research and industry to share these kinds of high tech facilities and expertise.’

Janet Reach is a Jisc research and design project that will provide companies who join with high-capacity  connections to the Janet network, enabling them to benefit from the same superfast and secure connectivity that UK academic organisations already enjoy. 

Photo: Image CC-BY Joao Carlos Medau